In Support of Predictability for Fantasy Plots

New, different, unexpected – these are the things we all want in a story, right? After all, if the story is too predictable, too much like all the others we’ve read, then why bother with it? While this is very true – both readers and writers are always looking for the unique element – I believe there is room for some degree of predictability.

Genre Matters

First off, there is the conventions of the genre. This can be very broad, but I believe it’s the most important form of predictability. Readers pick up certain genres because they enjoy the conventions of that type of story. A reader of classic sword and sorcery will not be pleased to find space ships and vampires half way through the novel. Pick your genre/sub-genre, learn your genre, and gain an understanding of what some of the most common or popular elements are. The fantasy/paranormal sub-genre of vampire romance involves – you guessed it – vampires and romance. If your story is lacking these key elements, then it’s not a vampire romance. Continue reading

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Writerly FAQs: 5 Common Questions Writers Ask

This post is for all you new writers out there – or for anyone who feels like they’re not an expert yet. That probably covers most everyone.

Since I’ve been blogging for a few years and I have a few books published on Amazon, I’ve had a number of people ask me questions about writing. Apparently, they view as an expert. Which I’m certainly not – but anyone who is a few steps further down the road can offer advice to those who are coming along behind, and so that is what this blog post is about.

So here are five questions that I’ve people ask me about writing and becoming a writer:

Should I write a book?

Do you want to a write a book? “Should I write a book?” is not a question that anyone can answer except you. If you feel that you have a story to tell, a message to communicate, or a part of your life that you want to share, then yes, you should write a book. Continue reading

What Writer is Your Greatest Influence?

I have several authors whom I list as my favorites, or as my greatest influences. I believe a lot of writers probably do the same.

A writer (or artist of any discipline, really) takes a little bit from every piece of work they read or experience. And that’s really the best way to learn. We learn to tell great stories by imitating other great storytellers.

Learning by Imitation

When we’re first learning, the imitation is often just that: a thinly-disguised copy of a favorite story or an obvious mimicry of another author’s style. And that’s okay, because we’re still in the early stages of learning and developing our own style. Our influences are more apparent. Continue reading

Anniversary of an Adventure

A year ago at this time, I was facing the biggest adventure of my life (thus far). I was in the process of upending my entire life and leaving behind everything I’d ever known to move across the country. For those of you who have moved around a lot, this is probably no big deal; but you need to understand where I was coming from.

I had lived my entire life in the same city (I won’t say how many years it’s been, but I will say that when I graduated college, neither I nor any of my classmates had cell phones). Anyway, I’ve lived in a few different homes/apartments, but always within a 10-mile radius of my parents’ house and the area I grew up in. Change has always come slowly for me, and I’m very fond of the familiar – even if that familiar is uncomfortable or less than ideal.

I’ve always loved traveling, but the thing about traveling for vacations is that when it’s done, you come back home – home to security and the familiar. Leaving my familiar surroundings to make a permanent move to a place I’ve never been is an entirely different ball game.

When the opportunity presented itself for me to move, I could have said no. Nobody would have judged me; in fact, very few people would have even known that I’d made some sort of a decision at all. I could have stayed in the familiar and gone on with my life.

But instead I said goodbye to my parents and friends, packed up my books and my cat, and left my familiar east coast city for a tiny north-western town that I’d never been to before. And I’m so thankful I did it. Continue reading

So You Want to Be a Social Media Expert?

I originally wrote this post for the blog at Helps2, the social media company that I work with. 

Social media manager. Content creator. Platform consultant. Growth hacker. Yes, this is a thing now.

Ten to twelve years ago, social media as we know it today didn’t exist at all. So is there such a thing as an “expert” in a field that is not only brand new, but is changing on a daily basis? And if you’re not Mark Zuckerberg or a Google employee, can you actually become one of these people?

Yes, you can. While I may not be considered an “expert,” as compared to the real pros, I have learned a thing or two about the social media world and how to stand above the crowd. I’m still learning, growing, practicing, and adjusting, but I will share a few tips that can help you move out of the “newbie” realm and on towards “expert.” Continue reading